A CAMPAIGN WITH COL. DONIPHAN.

CHAPTER II.

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Rendezvous of the army near Bent's Fort. Soldiers put onshort allowance. Slapjacks. Number of troops. A suspiciousMexican shown the camp and dismissed. Hunters. Antonio, hislasso and silver mounted saddle. The Rocky Mountains. A thunderstorm. First Mexican settlement. Expected fight son of GeneralSalazar taken. San Miguel del Vada. Pecos, an Aztec town, andits traditions and immense bones. A Catholic mule. Santa Fe,its palace and its calaboose. Shops for the traders. Kendall'sgun. Burying Mexican children. Inhabitants described. Jars. Tortillas and Atole. Donkeys. Mules and their title deeds. Mustangs and a particular cream colored stallion. Mode of breakingthe wild horse.

WE encamped on the 29th day of July about twelve miles belowBent's Fort. This was to be the rendezvous for the "Army of theWest, " and the first resting place since our march commenced. Hitherto we had had a sufficiency of both grass and water for ourhorses and provisions for ourselves. But our spies had just comein and reported that, beyond the fort, grass and water were veryscarce; and General Kearney, in consequence of the scarcity ofthe provisions furnished for us, ordered that we should be putupon only half a pound of flour and 3/8ths of a pound of pork perday each man. This deprived us of coffee, sugar, salt, rice,

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page 37 SHORT ALLOWANCE. -SUSPICIOUS MEXICAN.

&c. , which had previously helped to make our provisionspalatable. Now, our meals will consist of dough, if a simplemixture of flour and water deserves that name, fried in grease,or else what we used to call slapjacks, this being a thinvariation of the aforesaid dough, poured into a hot frying-pan. Not very desirable fare; but we went to it jokingly.

Just above Bent's Fort we found all the traders who had startedthis autumn encamped, with the exception of the traderSpeyers, who had hurried forward, having ammunition and arms withhim to sell to the Mexicans. Though pursued by a party of ourdragoons, he succeeded in reaching Santa Fe; and left again forthe lower country. The traders generally had been ordered byGeneral Kearney to here await his arrival. The troops which hadcome in amounted to one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven;among them, were eight companies under Colonel Doniphan,consisting of eight hundred and fifty men, and two companies ofinfantry. It will be seen that our whole number was small as anarmy; however, we were in good spirits. Nor were they damped bythe following incident. A Mexican had been sent in, on somefrivolous message to Captain Moore, (the officer who had goneafter Speyers), with instructions to take a good look at thearmy. General Kearney, having discovered that this was thefellow's object, had the whole camp shown to him, and thendismissed him, with instructions to tell all he had seen to thegovernor of New Mexico. After going through the camp, he liftedup his hands, and, apparently in good earnest, exclaimed inSpanish, "Alas! for my poor country."

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Bent's Fort is so named after the owners, (George and CharlesBent), who have long traded with Mexico and the Indians. It ismerely a trading-post for the latter, and consists of a square ofmud-houses, with a stockade around it. Here are kept the usualnecessaries for the hunters who come and sell the skins they mayhave secured in the mountains around. These poor men are paidfor their furs in goods, at most extortionate prices; forinstance, they are charged twenty-five dollars for a gallon ofbrandy, while the New York price is two dollars. These hardyfellows, after having collected a sufficiency of furs andbuckskins, bring them to the Fort, where, after bartering themoff, they furnish themselves with a

sufficiency of powder, lead and tobacco for another six months'trip to the mountains, and take the balance in whisky, with whichthey remain intoxicated as long as it lasts; and when it is gone,and all applications for more on credit are refused, they coollyshoulder their rifles and start off to do all the same thing overagain.

At Bent's Fort we obtained a supply of draught mules to fill theplaces of the many horses we had killed by fatigue on themarch -- out of the hundred fine cannon horses with which we hadstarted, not more than forty were left, and of these, not morethan ten ever got to Santa Fe.

The Mexicans have always been justly celebrated for theirdexterity with the lasso; and while crossing the prairies I hadseveral opportunities of seeing a man in the employ of Bent,named Antonio, use it. He, having a very well-trained pony,boasted that he could hold anything, even a buffalo, with hisnicely plaited lasso of deerskin, which always hung

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page 39 THE LASSO AND BUFFALO.

at the pommel of his heavily silver-mounted saddle. In holdingan animal after he is noosed, the principal skill lies in the horse; who, as thelasso is fastened to the pommel of the saddle, unless verycareful in properly bracing himself, will be overthrown by thesudden jerk. One day, an old buffalo-bull passed near thewagon-train, and Antonio was told to show his skill on him. Proudly and confidently he started and threw his lasso, but,instead of catching the creature by the horns, as he should havedone, he foolishly threw it over his head, thus noosing him roundhis powerful neck. The horse, seeing the lasso tightening,braced himself back; and, for an instant, it was a trial ofstrength between horse and buffalo; but the next moment, the bullwas scouring away with the lasso, garnished with thesilver-mounted pommel of Antonio's saddle, which had been tornoff in the struggle.

Our time was too precious to allow us to linger here, and, on thesecond day of August, we again took up our line of march,leaving, just above the Fort, the Arkansas River, much to ourregret; for on its banks we had always found a sufficiency ofwood, water and grass. We started this morning, at eighto'clock, and were not out of the saddle until two o'clock thenext morning; and then encamped by the side of some small saltponds, entirely without either wood or grass, and the water sobrackish as to be almost unfit for drinking. Our wagons nothaving come into camp with us, we none of us thought it worthwhile to await their arrival, but all lay down to sleepsupperless. Never was anything enjoyed more by me than my sleepthat night, except the

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next morning's breakfast. My bed, however, was only the groundwith two blankets, and my saddle for a pillow, and my breakfast,salt pork and slapjacks. I had not eaten anything since seveno'clock the previous morning.

As we left the fort, the Rocky Mountains began to show themselvesin the horizon, and, gradually, became more and more distinct. We had seen the snowy cap of Pike's Peak, the highest point northof the city of Chihuahua, the day before we reached the fort.

When we reached the foot of these mountains, I was disappointedto find them so entirely destitute of wood. They were bare, withno real beauty, aside from the grandeur inseparable from suchenormous masses of rock and mountain, and although a few arecovered with small firs, we crossed but one of these.

While encamped on the Rio Colorado, after crossing the first orRatone range of the Rocky Mountains, I witnessed the coming up ofa thunder storm among them, a sight not to be easily forgotten. We lay in a low valley, while, surrounding us, were immensepeaks. Slowly, on all sides, great black clouds came rollingover the mountains, seeming too heavy to float, and sinkinggradually down the sides. At last, when nothing could be seenaround but these black clouds, shutting out the world from us, along quivering roll of thunder echoed through the valley andthe gates of heaven seemed to open on the mountains, for the rushof rain was almost confined to them -- we receiving only scatteringdrops.

The first Mexican settlement was reached on the 13th of

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page 41 FIRST MEXICAN SETTLEMENT.

August, being a small village on the river Moro. It consisted ofa few mud huts, and was called Lower Moro. Nothing could be morediscouraging to men fated to remain a whole year in Mexicanterritory than the first view of this town. The houses or hubwere built half underground, and consisted of but one room roofedwith logs. In one of them I found a Scotchman, with his yellowwife and mongrel young ones. He owned large quantities of stock,and had several Mexican herders in his employ. He had madehimself comparatively rich by supplying traders with mules andcattle. The few Mexicans who came around the camp certainly didnot inspire us with any fear, but rather with disgust -- swarthy,lean and dirty, in a few rags and with a torn old blanket aroundthem, they were pictures of misery.

The next day we encamped at a continuation of the same village,called Upper Moro. Here, the houses were a shade better, beingentirely above ground, and several acres planted in maize. On aneminence stood a fort, which, the day before, had held a smallforce of Mexican soldiers, who had retired before us. However,our spies gave us to understand that a force of three or fourthousand intended to attack us the next day in a narrow defile,called the Moro Pass, about a mile from the village. At thispoint the road, after passing between two high and perpendicularrocks, winds through hill and mountain for several miles. Whilewe were at our scanty breakfast, our Major passing by, verygravely advised us not to eat too much, as we should fight thebetter for it. At this village, as at every other we entered,General Kearney delivered an address to the people through hisinterpreter,

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after the alcalde or mayor had taken the oath of allegiance tothe United States.

The signal for mounting, called boots and saddles, was quicklyobeyed the next morning, and we filed out of camp in good order. At this moment, our Captain, whom we had left ill at Bent's Fort,joined us; and, being deservedly a favorite, was received withhearty cheers. All the other troops preceded us through the MoroPass; and just as a turn of the road took them from our sight,our bugler sounded the trot. Supposing that our comrades werealready engaged, we belabored our cannon-mules into a trot withour sabres; and, in a few minutes, found the rest of the forcedrawn up in battle array. We galloped quickly to our position inthe centre near General Kearney, who, surrounded; by his staff,was standing on a small eminence. No enemy could be discoveredby us; but, after half an hour's suspense, our spies came in withthe intelligence that the Mexican force had fallen back on thePecos Pass and would there entrench themselves. We passedscattered houses and small towns, until we came to the village ofVegas, on the Gallinas river, where it passes through an immensecleft in the rocks. Here we encamped, and being on guard thisnight, had laid myself down about twelve o'clock to take a shortnap, when I heard the sentinel near me challenge some one, whoproved to be a sergeant from our outposts, with a prisoner incharge, who had been taken at one of the pickets. I accompaniedthe sergeant to General Kearney's tent, where we left ourprisoner. The stranger was a young handsome Mexican, and

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page 43 SAN MIGUEL DEL VADA. -PECOS.

declared himself to be a son of General Salazar. This youngman's object was, apparently, friendly, as he stated that he hadcome out in order to inform us that the Mexican army, which hadnumbered four thousand men under the command of Governor Armijo,had been strongly intrenched at the Pecos Pass, intending to giveus a warm reception, but had disbanded the night before, inconsequence of some quarrel about precedence in rank among theofficers; and he assured us that our entry into Santa Fe would bebloodless. Not knowing how much of this information might provetrue, we took care not to lose sight of the gentleman; and anespecial guard was assigned to him.

The next evening we stopped at San Miguel del Vada, whereKendall's party was so badly treated and Howland and anotherbarbarously murdered by this same Governor Armijo. As we passedslowly through the Plaza in which these poor men had beenexecuted, a moody silence pervaded the whole, save the whisperedwords "Kendall," "Alamo," "Armijo" and every one seemedrelieved when we had left San Miguel del Vada behind us.

On the night of the 17th of August we halted at Pecos. This is asmall Mexican village that takes its name from the ruins of theIndian town which formerly stood here. All that is left of whatwas one of the most celebrated of the Aztec towns is the church,which is of immense size, and supposed to be over five hundredyears old. This is the church which contained the sacred fire,said to have been kindled by Montezuma with orders to keep itburning until his return. The fire was kept alive for more thanthree hundred

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years, when, having, by some accident, been allowed to go out andmost of the town having been depopulated by disease, theremainder of the inhabitants abandoned the place and joined aneighboring village. There are many traditions connected withthis old church, one of which is that it was built by a race ofgiants fifteen feet in height, but these dying off, they weresucceeded by dwarfs with red heads, who, being in their turnexterminated, were followed by the Aztecs. But a singular partof the story is that both the large and the small men were white.The bones which have been dug from the floor of the church are,certainly, of gigantic size. A thigh bone that I saw could neverhave belonged to a man less than ten feet high. While myself anda companion were examining the edifice, a mule that we had tiedoutside, having got loose, very leisurely walked in after us,apparently as anxious to satisfy his curiosity as ourselves, andwithout hesitation went straight to the place where the altar hadformerly stood. This was raised three or four steps higher thanthe body of the church. Up these walked the mule, and, havingreached the top step, he gravely turned round and, giving vent tohis feelings and piety in a long Eehaw, as gravely descended andwalked out of the building.

The day on which we reached Santa Fe we passed through the defilein which we were to have been resisted. On seeing the great advantages we should have had to fight against, we could only look at each other with a stare expressiveof "we are well out of it." The canon or valley, in which theenemy were to have met us, winds between high mountains for milesand then, after passing between

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page 45 SANTA FE.

two enormous perpendicular rocky precipices, ascends and widensgradually for some yards. The road is on a narrow shelf of therock, only just wide enough for a wagon, the rest of the gorgebeing a deep rocky gully about twenty yards across. Just at thetop of the slight ascent in the road, the Mexicans, it seems, hadplanted their battery, having felled some trees and thrown themacross the pass -- thus occupying a raking position along it. Therocks on each side being too steep to climb, the only way for uswould have been to carry the position by a coup de main; andthis, well armed with artillery as they were, would have been noeasy affair for us. In fact, five hundred resolute men couldhave defended the pass against twice our force. On the eveningof the 18th day of August, we fired a salute of thirteen gunsover the city of Santa Fe. Our first view of this place was verydiscouraging. Although much larger than any we had seen yet,still there were the same mud walls and roofs and theaccompaniments of dirt, pigs and naked children. The city was,in a measure, deserted, the inhabitants having been persuadedthat we should rob and ill-treat everybody and destroyeverything; sobbing and crying were heard from the houses; and itwas only after a long speech from our General that they were atall pacified.

The City of Santa Fe, although spread over a large extent ofground, is very thinly inhabited; and, with the exception of thebuildings around the public plaza, consists only of scatteredhuts, surrounded by large fields of Indian corn. On one side ofthe public square, which is of considerable extent, stands thegovernor's Palace. It is the only building

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in the whole city having glazed windows. The palace is a longmud edifice, one story high, with a portico formed by extendingthe roof some distance over the street, and supported by smoothtrunks of trees. This portico is also extended in front of allthe houses facing the plaza -- and it proved a comfortableprotection to our poor sentinels in rainy weather. The palacehas at one end the government printing office; and at the other,the guard-house, and calaboose or prison. There are fearfulstories connecting Armijo's name with this prison; and the knownbrutality of his disposition has undoubtedly here led him tosacrifice, for their gold, better men than himself. On examiningthe walls of the small rooms, I found, stuffed into holes, locksof human hair, with rude crosses drawn just above them, andinvocations to the saint I cannot exactly account for these locksof hair thus illustrated; but I observed the same thing in a wallin Santa Fe, against which, it was said, some prisoners had beenshot. Around the three remaining sides of the plaza, were smallshops for the accommodation of traders, who, when they arrive,immediately hire them, to show off their goods to pedlers whomake this place their rendezvous. Indeed, it is this tradesolely that gives Santa Fe its importance. These shops are notexactly such as our merchants at home would choose to show theirgoods in, being without a window -- the only light that the dirtysales-room receives is through the door. We erected, in themiddle of the plaza, a high mast, from which now waves theAmerican flag; while across the square is ranged artillery,embracing the guns we brought out, as well as the pieces we foundhere and elsewhere.

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page 47 SANTA FE. -KENDALL'S GUN. -CHURCHES.

Among the latter, is the beautiful six-pounder which Kendall'sparty had with them. It bears upon it the lone star of Texas,and the name of her ex-governor, "M. B. Lamar," and upon thesight is engraved "Santa Fe." Armijo, in his retreat, hadburied this gun in the Pecos pass, but we found it, and had theimpudence to fire our morning and evening signals from it.

Fronting the governor's palace, on the plaza, stands an oldchurch, which was robbed of all its plate and ornaments some timebefore we arrived. It is allowed to go to ruin in consequence ofthis desecration. On each side of the altar is much finecarving, and above, there has been good painting; but the rainhas beaten through the roof upon it, and nothing is now left buta head, apparently of an angel, which is beautifully painted. The date upon a tomb in the edifice is 1768, but the churchitself is much older.

Although there are four other churches, there is noburying-ground, and the dead are interred by the side of theroad, just out of the city, with simply a pile of stones, and asmall wooden cross on the top of it. I did not witness any grownMexican buried while I was in Santa Fe, with the exception of anofficer, and he was interred with military honors; persons ofboth nations following to the grave. But our troops had broughtthe measles with them, and it was soon communicated to thechildren of the inhabitants, and carried off many of them;therefore, funerals among the young were common. In theseprocessions, two men went first, bearing spades with which to digthe grave; next, music, consisting, generally of a violin andclarionet played to some livelier

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tune; after these came the bier, upon which was placed the body,generally without coffin -- the latter, (black, with white tapecrossed all over it,) being borne empty by two children acrosstheir shoulders, walking behind; the body was usually in its bestclothes, strewed with flowers, and lying upon a white pall; thebier was borne on the shoulders of four children, generallygirls; and after these came the friends, without any order,dressed in their most showy clothes, and most of them providedwith a bottle of aguardiente, or home-made brandy. After theceremonies in the church were ended, the poor little innocent wasburied by the roadside, and a pile of stones raised over it; andif the father was too lazy to make a cross for his child's grave,he stole one from an adjoining stone-pile. And the funeral partywent home pretty tipsy.

General Kearney occupied the governor's palace, and quarters wereselected for the men, and an hospital arranged. The Mexicanhouses, although very uncomfortable-looking from the outside,are, generally, by no means so within, for being well whitewashedthere, they look clean, and are at all times cool. The walls arebuilt of large bricks of mud called adobes, about two feet longby one foot wide, and four inches thick; and the mud being mixedwith fine cut straw, and dried in the sun, holds very welltogether, if carefully handled. These are built up with mud formortar, and very often plastered with the same substance bothinside and out; but, as the tools used are only a spade andwooden trowel, the walls are not generally very smooth. On thetop of these walls are laid young trees, for rafters, upon whichare

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page 49 HOUSES AND INHABITANTS.

again laid small sticks, placed close together, and, over all, acoat of mud from six to eight inches in thickness. This roof,of course, is quite flat, but the walls being built at least afoot higher than the roof on all sides, with holes here and thereto let the water escape, they prevent the earth from washing off,and, as the grass soon grows upon this roof, it becomesimpervious to the water. The floor is nothing but the bareearth, trodden down hard; and I can say, from experience, thatit makes the hardest of beds -- rock not even excepted! The wallsand ceiling are whitewashed with a solution of bone-lime, madequite thick, and laid on by means of a buckskin. The houses areoften whitewashed, both externally and internally, and the limebeing of a brilliant white, renders the room very light,although, perhaps, the only opening is at the door, or a littlegrated window about a foot square -- no window-glass being used. The houses of the poorer classes only consist of one room, withgenerally a partition wall, as high as the waist, running almostacross it; and around the walls are built broad seats, upon whichthe blankets that compose the beds of the family are laid duringthe day. At night, the children use these benches as bedsteads,while the rest of the family, consisting, probably, of threegenerations, sleep promiscuously upon the floor, in filthysheepskins and blankets. The better sort sleep upon sacks offeathers, and in low trundle bedsteads, hewed with an axe fromthe rough wood. As regards the people who inhabit the houses, itis a hard task to describe them. The children from the age offour downwards, are generally left entirely naked -- this, however,occurs more in the country

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than in towns.

The women of Santa Fe, being mostly poor, arebadly clothed, and are very dirty, which does not add to theattractiveness of their ugly dark countenances. They marry veryyoung, but do not seem to know what virtue or modesty is; andbeing almost the slave of the husband, who will sit day after dayin the sun, and smoke his cigaritos, without offering to assisthis hard-working wife in anything, are very fond of theattentions of strangers. Those who have much white blood in them are pretty, but these are seldom found among the lower order, which numbers as one hundred to one in proportion to the upper class.

The men are the meanest, most contemptible set of swarthy thievesand liars to be found anywhere. The rich ones will cheat andswindle; and the poor sneakingly pilfer anything. The commonestclass are generally dressed in cheap dyed goat-skin pantaloons,made of two different colors, which are dressed like ourbuckskins and are as soft; a coarse shirt, and a blanket of aquality according to the circumstances of the wearer; a palm-leafhat generally completes the dress. Shoes are a luxury only wornby those who can afford them, being replaced by those who cannot,with a piece of raw bullock's hide, tied on the sole of the foot.Among the better sort, the pantaloons are of cloth, ornamentedwith stripes of colored goatskin; and they wear blue jackets withplenty of buttons, and a black oilskin cover to theirwide-brimmed him; a hat-band ornamented with silver, and a smallsilver plate on each side of the crown. The pantaloons of allclasses have buttons all the way down the outside of each leg,which, however, are never really buttoned, but allowed

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page 51 THE PONCHO OR BLANKET.

to hang loose; exposing a pair of white cotton drawers underthem. And more to the south, all classes wear a red sash aroundthe waist. The part of the dress which at once tells the wealthof the wearer, is the poncho or blanket. This, although called ablanket, is nothing like the article known among us by that name,it being without nap and wove, according to value, in small orlarge patterns. The common ones are only white, striped withblack, and worth about a dollar, and from the latter price theyrise even to two hundred dollars. Some are really beautiful, andbeing of fine wool, show charmingly their brightly-colored smallpatterns. The good ones are almost impervious to rain, and youmay even pour water into the folds of the Poncho, and it will notrun through. They are all made with a hole in the centre,through which the wearer puts his head, and as it reaches nearlyto the ankles, both before and behind, it forms an excellentprotection against the weather; and when not so required, it isthrown carelessly and worn, with an air, over the left shoulder. Several of the good ones, costing from fifteen to thirty dollars,were brought home for counterpanes by our men. However, thisquality is only to be found on the backs of the Mexicans, and aserious obstacle presents itself to many persons againstpossession, for there is an universal presence of vermin on thebodies of all the inhabitants, and it is not unusual to see womenand men stop suddenly, expertly hunt, and a sharp sound announcesto you a death -- while the next minute they handle the fruit orcheese which they are offering to sell to you. The women wear,if poor, an under garment without

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sleeves and one petticoat, quite short and leaving the shouldersand bosom exposed. A narrow but long scarf, either gray orblack, called a reboso, is brought over the top of the head andacross the face, leaving only the eyes exposed -- the ends, bycrossing them over the bosom, supply the place of bodice. It isunder no circumstances laid aside while the owner is awake, beingused dextrously even at times of working or cooking, never,however, allowed to come in the way of the occupation. The womenof the higher classes are very fond of wearing an infinity ofpetticoats, which can all be seen one a little below another. The Mexican women are the most graceful and boldest walkers Iknow, their step being always free and good, and their carriagenever too stiffly upright. From being accustomed, when young, tocarry heavy jars of water on their heads, they acquire a grateful oscillation of their bodies.

The jars I mention are of all sizes; and with the rare exceptionof a copper pan now and then, are the only articles used to cookor hold water. They are made by the Indians taut of a veryabundant brick clay, being baked of a red color and glazed onlyinside, globular in shape, with a short neck and somewhat smallmouth. At all the farms or ranchos we found the dung of cattlepressed into large slabs, which we ascertained were, when dry, tobe used to bake the jars. These articles supply the place ofmetal vessels, as they stand heat well. Articles of metal arevery scarce. I do not believe that there are two doors in allSanta Fe hung on metal hinges, they being made to turn on woodenpegs, the same with the shutters to windows.

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page 53 TORTILLAS.

The food of the poorer people consists of a sauce made by mixingthe powdered red pepper, Chili Colorado, with hot water, andeaten with Tortillas. These are thin cakes, thus made: the dryIndian corn is, first, slightly parched, then ground on theirmills, which consist simply of two stones; the largest, generallyabout two feet by one foot and a few inches thick, is hewn out ofthe hard boulders which abound in this country, and are cut sothat, by means of two legs, they rest on the ground at an angleof 35 degrees

(text missing)

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ment for eating was used. Another favorite dish is Tole, orrather Atole. This is prepared of various materials, mostly ofthe common meal. However, to make it really good, it should beprepared in an open vessel by heaths -- a few quarts of milk orwater; and when it boils, stirring in a mixture of fine wheatflour mixed with the meal of the small pinon nuts, obtained froma species of the pine tree. After being boiled a short time, itbecomes very palatable, and a great satisfier of hunger. Whenmade with only water and corn meal, it is, of course, not soinviting, although by no means bad. The meal of an ordinaryMexican man is about half a pint of red pepper, with three orfour hot tortillas. This he has without variation all his life,many of them never tasting meat; while those who do, cook it onlyafter it has been dried or jerked; -- as we used to say, after alltaste has been jerked out of it.

Our wood was brought to us nicely cut in short sticks byMexicans, and packed on little donkeys. These animals are verynumerous; and you may often see, moving along with a shortrocking motion, large bundles of hay, fodder or other articles,without perceiving anything to cause the motion, except whiskingabout behind will be a donkey's tail. These animals are treatedwith great cruelty by their masters, who not only overload them,but, going upon the old idea that a donkey eats nothing, do notprovide food for them. Children ride them, just jumping on andalways sitting upon the hind quarters and never on the body ofthe animal, using a small club, with which they guide by thumpingthe creatures on either side of the head. This system ofguidance does very well until some green fodder or other temptingmorsel meets

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the donkey's sight, when all the thumps and thwacks upon the headavail nothing; and a rider has no recourse but to slide down overthe tail, and, by main force, push the animal away. Thesecreatures are never harnessed in any other way than by putting ona pack saddle, and to which is fastened the equally balancedload. They are driven generally in numbers by one man on foot,who, with a short stick, thumps or pokes any loitering ass, atthe same time uttering tesh! tesh! which sound comprises all thedonkey vocabulary -- answering for "go ahead," "stop," "turn," &c.

The Mexican mules are very poor, smaller than those of America,and are principally used for packing. Their loads vary from twohundred to four hundred pounds. The Mexicans, throughcarelessness, allow the mules' backs to become chafed with thepack-saddle, and they soon are useless. Occasionally a fineriding mule may be met with, commanding an exorbitant price. These poor animals, as well as the horses, often present a veryludicrous appearance, the mule, as he passes through differenthands, being branded, and thus carrying his "title deeds" onhis hide: each owner, on purchasing, stamps him with a hotbranding iron, having a combined mark, looking most like aSpanish notary's rubric, or Chinese characters; and when he isagain sold, the iron is reversed and the brand is put immediatelyunder the former. The first is called "fierro," and the second"venta." The first place for branding is the shoulder; and asthis part will hold but one brand, the neck is next used, andafter that the hips and hind leg. The production of the lastfierro is sure evidence of ownership; and any ignorant person,not having

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the "venta" branded underneath, may probably lose his mule, asthe former owner can again claim the creature.

Most of the riding is upon their small mustangs or ponies, ofwhich there is a great abundance. In the southern parts are manyherds of them running wild -- never having felt the control of man. While travelling southward, I suddenly aim upon a herd of them;and their action, while running from me, was beautiful. One ofthem, in particular, a small cream-colored stallion, who seemedto be the leader, lagged a little behind; and, after taking agood look at me, galloped off, playing a thousand antics; then,after a few minutes, he would stop, and, turning his head, wouldhave another good look -- when he would again bound off. He waslarge for a mustang, and made me wish to have a lasso over hishead. The Mexicans, when they "break in" one of these, do itthus: noosing the rope around the creature's nose, the breakerlets him bound to the extent of the rope, say from fifteen totwenty feet, when, by a skillful pull, the horse is thrown uponhis back; after repeating this until the animal evidentlyunderstands that he is not free, the man gathers the rope up,and, jumping on the creature's bare back, using the rope by wayof bridle, urges him on with whip, heel and voice. He goes withthe speed of the wind; but becomes weary; is brought back quitesubdued, and, bridled, again ridden until he is covered withfoam, being completely cowed. These ponies are only used forriding, and when equipped with beautiful silver-mounted bridleand saddle, they have a pretty appearance. They are never overeleven hands high; and although well made, are not capable ofgreat speed or pos-

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page 57 MUSTANGS. -MEXICAN SADDLES, ETC.

sessed of much wind. They are, however, full of action, and canendure much thirst and hunger -- thriving better on grass or fodderthan on corn or oats. Generally when a Mexican mounts a horse, itis upon a very heavy silver mounted saddle, with large woodenstirrups. Behind him and upon the haunches, and entirelyconcealing them, there is a large flap of leather, ornamentedwith silver studs, or covered with long black hair. The Mexicansalways arm their heels with long blunt spurs, which they keep inconstant action on the ribs of the animal.

I have seen these spurs with the rowels seven inches in diameter,and the shank in proportion. All rich Mexicans carry, fastenedto the pommel of the saddle, a pair of shaggy goatskins, withembroidered leather trimmings. These are used to cover the legin hot weather, and hang from the hip to below the foot of therider. The bit, like the spur, is of the most cruel kind -- so madethat it would be an easy thing to break the horse's jaw by asmart pull; and, hung inside of the mouth, are small loose piecesof copper which keep it always sore. Nothing could be bettercalculated than the whole equipment to ruin a horse -- the sharp bitspoiling the paces, and the heavy saddle and equipmentsdestroying his back.

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